I spent Monday morning in Milwaukee touring the impressive work underway to integrate the natural environment back into water infrastructure. Throughout the tour, I saw ways in which the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) is using or planning to use green infrastructure to manage and reuse stormwater, reducing pollution in the Great Lakes in a more natural way. I was proud to announce that we are awarding MMSD a $4 million grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to continue this type of innovative and effective restoration work.
President Obama created the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to target the most significant problems facing the Great Lakes, and track progress in addressing them. Through this initiative, we have proposed the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. The grant awarded to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will fund projects to help meet these restoration goals.
The Great Lakes support a multi-billion dollar economy, provide drinking water for 30 million people, and help shape the culture and environment of the region. But just like many of our nation’s ecosystems, the Great Lakes face challenges like pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and environmental degradation that threaten to erode them. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative calls for aggressive action to address priority areas such as cleaning up toxics and toxic hot spots, combating invasive species, protecting watersheds from polluted run-off, and restoring wetlands and other habitats.
Restoring the Great Lakes is a national priority. Working together, we can protect this magnificent resource for the benefit of Great Lakes communities and all Americans.
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality